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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Using Artificial Intelligence to Tackle ‘Terrorist Content’


Photo Credit: Facebook

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is using artificial intelligence to keep terrorist propaganda and content off its social networking platform.

The company believes that the use of machine learning technology could combat spreading terrorist content on the Internet.

“There’s no place on Facebook for terrorism. We remove terrorists and posts that support terrorism whenever we become aware of them. When we receive reports of potential terrorism posts, we review those reports urgently and with scrutiny. And in the rare cases when we uncover evidence of imminent harm, we promptly inform authorities. Although academic research finds that the radicalization of members of groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda primarily occurs offline, we know that the internet does play a role — and we don’t want Facebook to be used for any terrorist activity whatsoever,” the social media giant said in a statement.

How Facebook Uses Technology to Combat Terrorist Content

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said that it is focusing on “cutting edge techniques” to fight terrorist content about ISIS, Al Qaeda and their affiliates on its social networking site.

Here is how Facebook is the most advanced technology to stop uploading and promotion of the terrorist content on its platforms.

Image Matching

The social media giant uses an image matching technology to stop users from uploading a terrorist photo or video.

“When someone tries to upload a terrorist photo or video, our systems look for whether the image matches a known terrorism photo or video. This means that if we previously removed a propaganda video from ISIS, we can work to prevent other accounts from uploading the same video to our site,” the company explains.

Language Understanding

Facebook is also using machine learning to analyze text to detect terrorist posts.

The social media giant is “experimenting with analyzing text” that it has already been removed for praising or supporting terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda so we can develop text-based signals that such content may be terrorist propaganda.”

Removing Terrorist Clusters

Facebook said that it terrorists tend to operate in clusters and it is using the latest technology to identify pages, groups, posts or profiles that support terrorism. The company said it uses algorithms to identify related material that may also support terrorism.

“We use signals like whether an account is friends with a high number of accounts that have been disabled for terrorism, or whether an account shares the same attributes as a disabled account,” it said.


Facebook said that it has improved its technology to quickly detect new fake accounts created by repeat offenders.

The new algorithms have helped the company to “dramatically reduce the time period that terrorist recidivist accounts are on” the social networking site.

Cross-Platform Collaboration

Facebook said that it has been working to remove terrorist content from all of its platforms including WhatsApp and Instagram.

“We don’t want terrorists to have a place anywhere in the family of Facebook apps. Given the limited data some of our apps collect as part of their service, the ability to share data across the whole family is indispensable to our efforts to keep all our platforms safe,” the company said.

But Intelligence Technology Cannot Catch Everything

The social media giant still needs humans to remove terrorist content from its platforms.

According to the company, technology cannot catch everything and “algorithms are not yet as good as people when it comes to understanding this kind of context.” For example, a photo of an armed man waving an ISIS flag might be propaganda, but could be an image in a news story, the company said.

So, the social media company has hired more terrorism and safety specialists in the past year. It has more than 150 people primarily focused on countering terrorism, including academic experts on counterterrorism, former prosecutors, former law enforcement agents and analysts, and engineers.

Moreover, Facebook noted that partnerships with other technology companies, civil society and governments are crucial for tackling terrorist content because “terrorists can jump from platform to platform.”

Meanwhile, shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) closed down 0.30% on Thursday. The stock, however, is up over 30% so far this year.

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